Crossing Mexican boarder by car without certificate of title?

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 Sat, 07/13/2013 - 13:46

Crossing Mexican boarder by car without certificate of title?


I tried and failed to cross the boarder into Mexico from guatemala by car ( la masilla).

I bought the car in El Salvador off other travellers and it has Californian plates.

previous owners have lost the certificate of title (ownership) and I can't enter Mexico without this.

does anyone have any ideas how to get around this? I can't get one of these certificates because previous owners are not contactable. Maybe try another boarder where it would be less strict?



Tue, 06/09/2015 - 15:29

Hi. I have the same problem

Hi. I have the same problem than u. But i am in México and i want to get to Costa Rica. Do u think i can cross the bordes?

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 07:50

And even worse, without the

And even worse, without the certificate of title signed off by the previous owners, you can't even get the registration made legal even if you go to California. Well, maybe you can, but not without some serious documentation from the previous owners and even then you will /may need to take the vehicle back to CA for a smog check if the current one is out of date.


You might be better to walk away from the deal and abandon the vehicle because if it gets attached to your passport you may have trouble even leaving the country.


Everyone would sympathise with your problems but I guess anyone who has had a vehicle stolen might be happy that border officials are on the ball. However, to be fair to the countries you are now in, if you were stopped for a roadside check in your own country and couldn't produce ownership documents, you would be in trouble there too.


Both of you have run into the same problem of previous owners probably knowing full-well the legal situation in selling vehicles out of country but all they care is getting rid of the vehicle and effectively stealing your money.  And they probably reckon all used car salesmen are dishonest.


There are a couple of vital documents - first is a certificate of title or equivalent (most other countries don't have one). Then there is the Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TIP) and last, your passport. If the same name is not on all three documents, you will have to have a document - called a Power of Attorney or PODER - that legally explains the discrepancies in the documents. Even that document has limitations and not all places will recogniose a PODER made out in another country.


It is possible to buy a vehicle from another foreigner even though it is technically illegal in many countries, and it is possible to get it over the first border using a poder or if the previous owner is there too, but then comes the problem of getting legal title to the vehicle with new plates if necessary and valid registration and then legal insurance AND getting the TIP into the next country in the new owner's name and with new registration details. That is the hard part and there have been a handful of cases where people have had their vehicles confiscated - sometimes several border crossings later - because of paperwork problems.


Easier border? Or bribing an official? Yes, obviously happens but getting that wrong could be very problematic. There are a couple of borders where procedures are slack but they are a long way from where you are.


There are also a few other forums where you might be able to get some assistance - HUBB and Panamericana are two - but I doubt it.



Sat, 02/06/2016 - 05:11

vehicle registration in the USA for foreigner/non resident

Hello All,

This summer I want to spent a couple of months in the US. I am planning to buy an RV as renting one for a couple of months is very expensive. I saw one in he state of Washington that I liked and contacted the Department of Motorvehicles in the state. They let me know that I cannot register a vehicle in Washington as a foreigner/non resident. I have seen on some earlier posts that some states would not and others would allow a foreigner to register a vehicle.

Does anyone have the experience of registering a vehicle in its name in the US. If so, in which state is it possible, so that I can focus to buy the RV in a state that allows such.

Any advice on how the proces works would be welcome too.

Thx and happy travels,